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Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday at Saratoga

Since I have been slacking lately, what with school about to start again, I decided to take another stab at picking nearly the entire Saratoga card (I couldn't find free pp's for race 6). So, for better or worse, here it is:

Race 1:
Al Basha comes in with two very sharp works at Saratoga, as well as two excellent finishes after losing his rider in an allowance race at Belmont in May. Hangingbyathread won easily here on July 25. Mad Bob Cat switches to Gary Contessa’s stable and gains Kent Desormeaux up; he could be surprise finisher.

Race 2:
And A Gentleman has been working very strong towards this debut, and is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Seek Gold. His sire Officer is firing at 19% with first-time starters. Both of Nick Zito’s coupled first-time starters, He’s Solid Gold and Hi Chris, could win too, although I prefer He’s Solid Gold who’s a half-brother to 2005 G1 Florida Derby winner High Fly, as well as multiple UAE stakes winner Estimraar. Darley’s British Columbia (E Dubai) posted a very sharp bullet work for Kiaran McLaughlin leading up to this start.

Race 3:
It’s pretty bad when the 2-1 morning line favorite (Horse Thief) is a shipper from Finger Lakes. No thanks! He’s Tough looks tough against this weak bunch at this distance, especially when gaining Johnny V in irons. Poker God comes off rest with solid workouts and first time for a tag. Longshot Final Authority could surprise with early speed while returning to dirt.

Race 4:
Nor’easterner rather liked the turf last time, as he should, since his dam One More Breeze also produced the graded turf stakes winner Dr. Kashnikow (Fourstardave, River City). He’s also posted two bullet workouts since his last race, where he finished second. Hidden Glance is a regally bred first-time starter, by Kingmambo, and out of Casual Look who won the G1 Epsom Oaks on turf. Cornelio Velasquez is up. Prussian looks strong to finish in the money.

Race 5:
Ramon Dominguez stays on Bees after her less-than-successful first try on turf in the G3 Lake George, and I’d like to see her breakout here. Mythical Echo has worked extremely well since arriving from Ireland for Patrick Biacone. More Than A Feelin may need a little more distance to be successful, but should get money. If she draws in, Queens Full could be a factor.

Race 7:
Subtitles certainly looks the winner here, with four consecutive narrow second place finishes in allowance company, including here at Saratoga on July 27. The third place finisher in that race, Dragon Fi, also comes back, and should like the extra distance. For a longshot, look no farther than Wisp, a claimer who has bounced around, but lately performed well again and could surprise here.

Race 8 (G2 Lake Placid Stakes):
After her game finish behind Rutherienne in the G3 Lake George, Lady Attack looks strong here, as does the third place finisher in that race, Sharp Susan. Frankly, I find it hard to go against either of these, but I proffer Communique for an upset. This bay Smart Strike filly comes off a strong fourth place showing in the G1 American Oaks vs. Panty Raid, Valbenny and Anamato, finishing less than three lengths behind the winner. She does come off the pace, and this race looks pretty pace-less, but if Julien Leparoux can keep her close early, she may have enough kick to surprise at the end. As an aside, I love Christmas Kid, but don’t like her placement here. However, I would be pleasantly surprised if she ran well.

Race 9:
I’m concerned with Survived dropping down for a tag here, but the closely-spaced workouts seem to fit her normal pattern, and she’s a perfect 2 for 2 at the mile distance. Innovator hasn’t been out of the money in five starts since April; with regular jockey Rojas, she could surprise here. Jeux de Danse should love the shorter distance, though her turf tries thus far haven’t been successful.